Disclaimer: I own nothing.
19-month-old Hailey Chase is running ragged through the office halls as Annabeth Chase struggles to keep up with her.
'Hailey, slow down sweetheart. Come back to Mummy.' But it falls on deaf ears. 'When had her daughter gained such speed?' she wondered.
Intent with catching her daughter before she is lost in the hustle bustle of people, she ignores all around her.
When someone calls out 'Ms Chase', all she can do is turn her head and say 'just a minute', continuing to move closer to her daughter.
But before she can reach her, Hailey has hit something solid and landed on her nappy-clad bottom, crying. She throws up her hands in the air, wanting to be held and comforted.
The 'wall' that she had crashed into was actually Chief Deputy Prosecutor James Conlon. As he turned and looked down at the vaguely familiar girl crying at his feet, his number one prosecutor scooped her up.
'Sshh, sweetheart. You're fine.'
Hailey finished sniffling and turned in her mother's arms with wide open eyes to look at the being that had caused such an abrupt end to her adventures. 'Man!'
Annabeth laughed. 'Yes, it is a man. This is Mr. Conlon.'
Jimmy laughed: 'Mr. Conlon? I'm Jimmy, squirt.'
'Gimme 'ert!' repeated Hailey giggling. 'Gimme, gimme, gimme!'
And then to Annabeth's amazement, Hailey actually reached out toward her boss, wanting to be transfered into his arms.
She opened her mouth to ask for Jimmy's permission, but Hailey lunged at him before she could do anything.
As Jimmy struggled to rearrange the files in his hand, Hailey made her jump, not giving Annabeth time to counteract her sudden movement.
It's a misjudged jump: Hailey manages to grab Jimmy's tie, but still has her legs bracketed on Annabeth. So, Jimmy and Annabeth end up colliding into each other as Hailey maintains her precarious death grip on them both.
Avoiding a head-on collision, Annabeth looks up at Jimmy who is looking down at her with a twinkle in his eye.
Jimmy laughs as he wraps an arm around Hailey and transfers her to himself, but in the move the files he'd been so carefully carrying were dislodged. Hailey giggles from her perch up high as both adults try to catch the folder and prevent the papers from escaping.
It's hard to believe that it's only been minutes since Hailey had slammed into him, as both he and Annabeth breathe heavily, checking the files in front of them. The pintsized dynamo, currently gripping his shoulder, had managed to create quite a tornado in that brief time!
Feeling at home with a child in his arms, Jimmy jostles her as he converses with Annabeth a little longer.
Poking Hailey in the side as she giggled, he noticed the time. 'Shi - shoot,' he said, mindful of young ears, as he passes Hailey back to her mother, issues a quick farewell, and makes his way out. Hailey cheerfully waved at his departing back as Annabeth headed to her office to quickly sign off some papers, before heading home.
It was such a brief interlude, but Annabeth would look back on this years later as the first memorable meeting between Hailey and Jimmy, and the beginning of something new.